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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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GUY WHO HATES HIS JOB

I HATE THIS WORSE THAN A RACOON HATES AN AXE HANDLE.

Submitter comment: ARKANSAS ORIGIN?

Where learned: HOME ; NOT RECORDED

Keyword(s): DISSATISFACTION WITH AN UNPLEASANT JOB

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMALS

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Comparison

Date learned: 10-01-1968

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BAPTISM CUSTOM

THOSE WHO STAND UP AT YOUR WEDDING SHOULD BE ASKED TO BE THE
GODPARENTS OF AT LEAST YOUR FIRST CHILD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): BEST MAN ; MATRON OF HONOR ; WITNESSES

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Baptism Naming rite

Date learned: 10-26-1969

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FATHER BAKER'S MIRACLE

THIS IS A TRUE STORY ABOUT FATHER BAKER'S MIRACLE. FATHER BAKER HAD A
LITTLE CHURCH IN BUFFALO NEW YORK. HE WANTED TO BUILD A NEW CHURCH,
BUT THERE WAS NO MONEY. ONE DAY AFTER CELEBRATING MASS HE TOLD THE
ALTAR BOYS TO FOLLOW THEM. STILL DRESSED IN THE GARB OF THE CHURCH
FATHER BAKER POINTED TO A PLACE IN AN EMPTY FIELD AND SAID "DRILL
HERE FOR OIL," BUT EVERYONE KNEW THERE WAS NO OIL IN THE AREA. ON HIS
INSISTANCE THEY DRILLED, FOUND OIL LESS THAN FIFTY FEET DOWN,
AND THUS FINANCED THE CHURCH.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT WAS A MEMBER OF FATHER BAKER'S PARISH WHERE THE STORY
IS TOLD.

Where learned: LOCATION NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

James Callow Keyword(s): PRIEST AS OIL WITCH ; WATER WITCH: OIL WITCH

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Religious hero
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal

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RIDDLE

WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN YOU CROSS AN ELEPHANT AND A COW?
PEANUT BUTTER.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM A FRIEND.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ANIMALS: COWS ; ANIMALS: ELEPHANTS ; RIDDLE JOKE: CROSSING ONE THING WITH ANOTHER

James Callow Keyword(s): HYBRID

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- Riddle Question

Date learned: 10-13-1967

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PALM SUNDAY GREETING

FOR UKRAINIANS, THE PUSSY WILLOWS REPLACE THE PALM AND THE
DAY IS CALLED FLOWERY SUNDAY. AFTER THE BLESSING AND THE
DISTRIBUTION OF THE PUSSY WILLOWS, THE PEOPLE GENTLY TAP
ONE ANOTHER WITH THE PUSSY WILLOW. THEY SAY THIS VERY
TRADITIONAL PHRASE. I AM NOT HITTING YOU, THE PUSSY WILLOW
IS HITTING YOU, A WEEK FROM TODAY IS EASTER.
THE PUSSY WILLOWS ARE THEN TAKEN HOME. THEY ARE USED AS A
SACRAMENTAL AND PLACED BEHIND HOLY PICTURES ON A WALL OR
ARRANGED IN A VASE ON A TABLE OR DRESSER.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; ROCHESTER

Keyword(s): SWITCHING

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Ash Wednesday
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 00001950S

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HAMBONE

HAMBONE, HAMBONE, HAVE YOU HEARD?
MOMMA'S GONNA BUY YOU A MARKING BIRD.
IF THAT MARKING BIRDIE DON'T SING,
MOMMA'S GONNA BUY YOU A DIAMOND RING.
IF THAT DIAMOND RING DON'T SHINE,
MOMMA'S GONNA BUY YOU A BOTTLE O WINE.
IF THAT BOTTLE OF WINE DON'T DRINK,
MOMMA'S GONNA BUY YOU A KITCHEN SINK.
HAMBONE, HAMBONE, HAVE YOU HEARD?
MOMMA'S GONNA BUY YOU A MARKING BIRD.

Submitter comment: THE SONG IS SUNG TO THE TUNE OF HUSH LITTLE BABY,
BUT THE TEMPO IS MUCH FASTER. ONE HAND BEATS THE LEG
AND CHEST DURING THE SONG. AND THE SONG IS ESPECIALLY
POPULAR AMONG MEN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): CHAIN WITH INTERLINKED ITEMS ; MOCKING BIRD

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Song
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Athletic sport and exercise Gymnastics

Date learned: 04-00-1983

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SOME "FOSSOYEUR", IN ORDER TO MAKE SOME MONEY, SELL DIRT FROM
CEMETERIES, WATER FROM TOMBS, AND ALSO SKULLS TO "QUIMBOISEURS".
THE "QUIMBOISEURS" USED TO PAY IN A CERTAIN WAY SO THAT THEY DO
NOT GET BAD LUCK OR MISFORTUNE. FOR INSTANCE, THE DIRT AND THE
WATER WERE SOLD IN GLASS CONTAINERS, AND THEY PAY FOR THEM WITH
WHITE ROCKS OR SILVER JEWELRY, AND ON THE OTHER HAND, THE SKULL
WAS PAID FOR WITH GOLD.

Where learned: GUADELOUPE

Keyword(s): "FOSSOYEURS" ARE GRAVEDIGGERS ; "QUIMBOISEURS" ARE PEOPLE THAT ; PRACTICE WITCHCRAFT AND ALSO WHITE MAGIC.

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Witch Shaman
BELIEF -- Curer

Date learned: 00-00-1973

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IN ORDER TO CURE SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN SICK, THE "QUIMBOISEUR" WILL
GIVE THE PERSON A BATH USING THE SAME WATER THAT SEVEN DOGS HAD
BEEN BATHED IN.

Where learned: GUADELOUPE

Keyword(s): "QUIMBOISEUR" IS SOMEONE THAT PRACTICES WITCHCRAFT AND WHITE MAGIC.

Subject headings: 686 Seven / Sevenths / Several
BELIEF -- Animal
BELIEF -- Mineral

Date learned: 00-00-1974

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THERE IS A TRIBE IN THE NORTHERN PART OF NIGERIA CALLED FULANI.
IF A YOUNG MAN FROM THIS TRIBE WANTS TO MARRY, A CERTAIN RITUAL
WILL BE PERFORMED FOR HIM WHICH THE WHOLE VILLAGE WILL WITNESS.
THE YOUNG MAN WHO WANTS TO MARRY WILL PULL OFF HIS CLOTHES EXCEPT
HIS SHORT PANTS, AND HE WILL BE GIVEN SEVERAL LASHES OF CANE AT THE
BACK. IF HE CRIES, HE WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO MARRY, BECAUSE IT IS
ASSUMED THAT HE IS NOT MATURED TO MARRY. BUT IF HE DOES NOT CRY
THE ELDERS OF THE VILLAGE WILL GLADLY GIVE HIM THE BRIDE TO WED.

Where learned: NIGERIA

James Callow Keyword(s): SWITCHING WHIPPING

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage

Date learned: 00-00-1965

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BLACK AMERICAN

PLAIT YOUR HORSE:S MANE WITH CORN-
SHUCKS TO PREVENT WITCHES FROM
RIDING HIM. INFORMANT HEARD FROM
GRANDFATHER.

Where learned: MISSISSIPPI

Keyword(s): WITCHES

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Witch Shaman
BELIEF -- Plant

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BLACK-AMERICAN BELIEF

A NEGRO WITH A RABBIT FOOT, MOUNTED ON A
WHITE HORSE, IN THE DARK OF THE MOON
IN A CEMETARY, WILL BREAK A WITCH SPELL.
INFORMANT HEARD FROM GRANDFATHER, WHEN
A SMALL CHILD.

Where learned: MISSISSIPPI

Keyword(s): WITCHES

Subject headings: Charm / Enchantment / Conjuration
BELIEF -- Witch Shaman
BELIEF -- Mammal
BELIEF -- Prayer
BELIEF -- Color

Date learned: 09-15-1985

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"I heard on the news the other day about this
guy that got killed after the Detroit Tigers won
the pennant in Detroit. It seems that in all of
the victory celebration afterwards, a man was
riding his motorcycle through the traffic jammed
cars when suddenly a car door flung open and
ripped the man's arm clean from his body. The person
in the car got out and picked the arm up and
threw it in the back seat. The police caught up
with him a few days later and the man was arrested."
You pause here for a few seconds and then you say,
"They arrested him for armed robbery."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): Punch line with a pun

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Jest Anecdote
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Formula tale

Date learned: 00-00-1984

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CHUGGING CONTESTS

A FAVORITE PASTIME AT PARTIES IS FOR EVERYONE TO GET
A MUG FULL OF BEER AND SEE WHO CAN CHUG IT DOWN THE
FASTEST.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): CHUG=SWALLOW, WITHOUT STOPPING.

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Bodily Activity

Date learned: 03-29-1968

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Entry filtered.

IN THE EARLY 1900'S BLACK WOMEN WHO CARRIED CLOTHES ON THEIR
HEADS WERE THOUGHT TO BE BEWITCHED WITH EVIL SPIRITS AND WERE
CALLED CUNGERS.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Keyword(s): Black ; Evil Spirits ; Witch ; WITCHES ; Woman ; WOMEN

James Callow Keyword(s): CONJURERS?

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Devil Demon
BELIEF -- Witch Shaman
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

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WELL WITCHING

WHEN I WANTED MY WELL DUG, I KNEW JUST EXACTLY WHERE TO PUT
IT. I HAD WITCHED FOR IT WITH A FORKED PEACH TREE LIMB.
ALL YOU DO IS HOLD IT STEADY RIGHT OUT IN FRONT OF YOU AND
WALK ABOUT. WHEN IT BENDS, THAT IS WHERE WATER IS, AND
SURE ENOUGH IT WAS THERE. I'VE GOT A GOOD WELL FULL OF
GOOD CLEAR WATER AND I FOUND IT BY WITCHING FOR IT.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; CANEY SPRINGS

Keyword(s): WATER WITCHING

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Still water Man made container.
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 02-23-1969

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I HEARD MY FATHER SAY IF YOU TAKE A FORKED PLUM BRANCH, IT
WILL LEAD YOU TO WATER.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE

Keyword(s): WATER WITCHING

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Use of Object Plant

Date learned: 07-25-1968

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A FORKED TWIG MADE FROM ANY KIND OF SOFT WOOD WILL HELP
LOCATE A SOURCE OF WATER.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE

Keyword(s): WATER WITCHING

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Water
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 04-03-1972

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IT MEANS BAD LUCK IF YOUR LEFT EYE IS SHAKING (BLINKING).

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; JAVA ; NASHVILLE

Keyword(s): TWITCHING?

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Eyes, evil eye
BELIEF -- Sensations and involuntary actions Eye twitch
BELIEF -- Bad luck Body parts and functions

Date learned: 07-25-1968

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FATAL HAIRDO TALE

WHEN I WAS A HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT IN NASHVILLE (1963-66)
THERE WERE A RASH OF FATAL HAIRDO STORIES CIRCULATING
AMONG THE HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS. EVERYONE WHO TOLD THE
STORIES VOWED THAT THEIR VERSION WAS THE T R U E
VERSION. I CAN REMEMBER THAT THE GIRL
WAS SAID TO HAVE BEEN A STUDENT AT STRATFORD HIGH
SCHOOL IN NASHVILLE, AND AT DONELSON HIGH SCHOOL
IN DONELSON, TENNESSEE WHICH IS A SUBURB OF NASHVILLE.
THE STORY BASICALLY WENT SOMETHING LIKE THIS:
THERE WAS THIS GIRL WHO HAD HER HAIR FIXED IN A
SPECIAL, ELABORATE WAY FOR A PROM OR SOME OTHER EVENT.
AFTER THE GIRL HAD HER HAIR DONE, FOR DAYS, AND EVEN
WEEKS AFTERWARDS, SHE ROLLED IT WITH TOILET PAPER EACH
NIGHT TO HOLD THE STYLE'S SHAPE AND NEVER BRUSHED IT OUT
BECAUSE SHE LIKED THE HAIRDO SO WELL. ONE DAY THIS GIRL
WAS SITTING IN CLASS AND BLOOD STARTED RUNNING DOWN
HER FACE. SHE FAINTED AND WAS RUSHED TO THE HOSPITAL.
AT THE HOSPITAL, HER HAIRDO WAS DISMANTLED AND A NEST
OF ROACHES WAS FOUND IN HER HAIR. THEY HAD BURROWED
AND EATEN THEIR WAY INTO HER HEAD AND INTO HER BRAIN
AND KILLED HER.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE

James Callow Keyword(s): ALSO SEE SAME BASIC STORY WITH A SPIDER IN IT.

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Body part Senses

Date learned: 08-13-1968

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THE APEX OF A WISHBONE SHAPED STICK IS MAGNETICALLY PULLED
TOWARD THE GROUND WHEN IT'S ABOVE WATER.

Where learned: TENNESSEE ; NASHVILLE

James Callow Keyword(s): WATER WITCHING

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Water

Date learned: 11-19-1977

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